So, it emerges that what Dutch police initially treated as a "possible" hijacking at Rotterdam airport last week was just a drug addict named "Coco" putting in a hoax call as part of a jealous love affair.
At least as reported in the Dutch press, "Fatih", the male half of the couple that was initially arrested, was unemployed, yet he was going on a 22-day vacation to Turkey.
Only in Holland.
Coco was a friend of Fatih's who was having an affair with Fatih's girlfriend "Hinda," the female half of the couple. Coco was desparate to keep them from spending so much time together. Hinda was playing along with Coco, and cooperated by arriving too late for their initial flight out of Amsterdam.
Then when Fatih and Hinda were given a second flight out of Rotterdam anyway, Coco got desperate and called in the threat.
Now Coco and Hinda are in jail, and Fatih has been released to reconsider his future plans.
But I digress. Digression continues:
The part of this story that has my attention is not so much that in the year 2008, it took the Dutch authorities more than 5 hours to decide what to do with a (hoax) phone call threat against a flight.
What gets me is that the airline, believing there was a hijacking threat, lied to the passengers the entire time, telling them there were technical difficulties and changes to the flight schedules.
(from De Telegraaf):
"You can get away with that kind of story for two hours, but this took too long," said a spokeswoman from Transavia. "People can see there's nothing happening to the plane."
She said the crew had a tough time too. They tried everything they could to keep everybody comfortable.
"We tried as best as we could to explain to them what happened and that Transavia couldn't do much about it. Unfortunately the spokespeople for the border police and the prosecutor's office were completely unreachable for us."
Man, I know *that* feeling.
Anyhow, call me naive, but isn't this just proof that pilots and the crew will always lie to you about the seriousness of the situation?
Now that we know that, how can we ever trust them not to be lying to us about how serious problem "X" is?
The answer is, we can't.
They don't want to cause a panic, it wouldn't do you any good to know, etc., etc.
I still would rather just know. And there ought to be a law against them keeping you on the plane for more than 2 hours.
I don't have a lot of flight anxiety _ I always accept that my fate is completely out of my hands, and the odds of getting in an accident are kind of like the odds of winning a lottery. A negative lottery, obviously.
(An aside for linguists: the word "lot" meaning "fate" is still very active in Dutch _ exists in English too, but rarely used by Americans).
My brother is a pilot. On his advice I once read "Fate is the Hunter." It's a great book, I highly recommend it.